Sixth suspect arrested in murder of 8-year-old girl during drive-by shooting in Statesville

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 8:50 PM EDT
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STATESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - A sixth suspect has been arrested in the deadly drive-by shooting that killed 8-year-old Ah’Miyahh Howell in Statesville on June 28.

Donnell Ellison was arrested for the outstanding warrants of murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, felony conspiracy and discharging a weapon into occupied property causing serious bodily Injury. He was charged and given no bond.

Five other people were previously arrested in the shooting that left Howell dead and another child seriously injured.

Police say 18-year-old Nasir Turner, 19-year-old Sayqwon Miller and a 17-year-old juvenile were each charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, felony conspiracy and discharging a weapon into occupied property causing serious bodily injury. The arrests of two other 17-year-olds was announced the next day.

“When the detective told me they arrested these people, I said, ‘like a cold chill just came over my body,’ like my granddaughter lifted herself off of me, I got my justice,” said Kendalen Howell, Ah’Miyahh’s grandmother.

Howell’s grandmother and cousin, Natasha Davis, say Ah’Miyahh enjoyed dancing and the social media app Tik Tok.

They said she was loved by everyone.

“Now she can finally spread her wings and fly high, be the angel that she’s always been,” said Natasha Davis, Ah’Miyahh’s cousin. “Because she’s always been a special child since birth.”

On the tragic night, two drive-by shootings happened hours apart within the same neighborhood on June 28. Three children were injured in the shootings and the 8-year-old died from her injuries.

The 8-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy were shot in a possible drive-by shooting on Wilson Lee Boulevard around 7 p.m. that day. While investigating, police heard gunshots around 8:30 p.m. on nearby Newbern Avenue, where officers say a 10-year-old child was injured in a potential drive-by shooting.

The girl, identified as 8-year-old Ah’Miyahh, was pronounced dead in the hospital. The 9-year-old boy - Tariq Lowery - is out of the hospital and is in physical therapy.

The two are cousins and were playing outside at a family member’s home at the time of the shooting, family members told WBTV.

The 10-year-old was injured but is expected to be OK.

Statesville City Council Member Doris Allison, who represents the ward where this shooting happened, said she is pleased to hear more arrests were made but says more witnesses need to come forward.

“The police department [has] proven to do their job because of the information they had within themselves, they’re depending on the community,” Allison said. “It’s up to the community to take responsibility and bring this person to justice.”

A previous video sent to WBTV showed two cars that police identified as vehicles of interest speeding away from the scene of the shooting. The video showed two white cars speeding down Wilson Lee Boulevard after sounds of gunshots could be heard.

Witnesses told police that both cars were white - one possibly a Mercedes and the other possibly a Honda Accord. On Friday, police say they were able to seize a white Honda Accord and a white Mercedes C250 in connection with the homicide.

Statesville Police Chief David W. Addison posted on social media on July 2 that witnesses had not come forward to provide any information.

“We are actively investigating the homicide of Ah’Miyahh Howell and the serious injuries suffered by the other children on Monday, June 28, 2021,” Anderson said. “We are following up with forensic leads and other investigative tools to resolve this case. However, we have not had anyone who witnessed this murder come forward. We will continue to fight for Ah’Miyahh Howell and all of our children in our community. If you witnessed this shooting or know someone who did, please contact us immediately.”

Police say forensic evidence from the vehicles, combined with investigative leads and evidence from the crime scene allowed for the identification of the suspects who were charged.

As more information is obtained, officials say more arrests may follow.

The family is pleading with anyone who saw something to speak up so they can get the justice they deserve.

“You know how some people are, they live by that street code ‘don’t snitch,’ but this is an 8-year-old child and a 9-year-old that got shot and my granddaughter didn’t make it, and I hate that,” said grandmother Kendalen Howell.

If anyone witnessed the murder of Ah’Miyahh Howell or the shooting of the 9-year-old boy, please contact Statesville Police immediately at 704-878-3406.

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